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Sonny Landreth


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I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Sonny Landreth at a small club in Yonkers, called the Bayou Restaurant. Another one of those clubs that are dwarfed by the tour bus. The place holds about 100 people. Very cajun and VERY intimate. My son Dane and his girlfriend Colleen and his guitar playing bud Rob braved the Sunday night traffic (none). I hate Sunday night shows for the obvious work week reasons.

There was a really nice guy Geoff Hartwell who opened for him. He's a young guy with some music school chops and roots style. He played a few of his originals off his new CD and is quite talented. We were told later by Sonny that Geoff was the reason that Sonny had come to this tiny venue. So props to Geoff and his tenacity.


Sonny is a totally unassuming non-rock-star kind of guy. His band, a bunch of no nonsense players, took to the corner (No stage just the corner of the dining area) and plugged in. Just a three piece; airtight and built for speed.

From the minute Sonny touched the strings it was evident his control and tone was just on another plane. He played all the zydeco/blues/cajun flavored tracks off his Grant Street CD and debuted a couple of new tracks from his May CD which will feature his fans and friends.

Check this out:

Sonny Landreth’s eagerly-awaited CD, From the Reach, is slated for release on May 20!

Produced by Sonny’s own company, Landfall Records, the CD will be distributed through Ryko.

The album’s title refers to “the stretch of water visible between bends in a river or channel” but could also be interpreted as a metaphor; listeners are invited to use their imagination. Most of the tracks, which may not finally appear in this order, feature his friends:

Storm of Worry, Eric Clapton

Blue Tarp Blues , Mark Knopfler

When I Still Had You, Eric Clapton

Way Past Long, Robben Ford

The Milky Way Home, Eric Johnson

The Going On, Vince Gill

Let It Fly, Nadirah Shakoor


Howlin’ Moon, Dr. John & Jimmy Buffett

Blue Angel, Robben Ford & Vince Gill

Universe, Vince Gill

I cannot put into words how good this guy is. I wavered from foot stomp to goose-bumps and tears throughout the show. Sonny has control on the order of a Jeff Beck. Every harmonic, palm mute, over the slide upper fret hammer on is intended and tasty as hell. Even the outros smoked. My son's bud, Rob, quite a guitar player in his own right, watched intently. He said repeatedly "Do you have any idea what this guy is doing?"as in how revolutionary his technique was. I know nothing of guitar technique so all I could respond was "Yeah, he's makin' my hair stand up!"

Just inspiring. Even the simple basic blues struts had that sweet harmonic chime that was just other worldly. All of y'all who don't know Sonny Landreth seek this guy out. Listen closely.

Further reading:


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I first became a Sonny fan back in the 90s when I heard his album South of I-10. In the years since I've had the opportunity to see him live a couple of times. The first at a benefit at Antone's in Austin that also included Billy Joe Shaver (and his late, great son, the guitar wizard Eddy Shaver), David Grissom (Storyville), and many others. The second time was also in Austin several years later at the Broken Spoke Saloon during a SXSW showcase for Sugar Hill Records. Sonny is also a member of John Hiatt's Goners and has appeared on several Jimmy Buffett records over the last few years (and sometimes appears with him live in concert along with Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne). A few years ago he also guested at a Little Feat concert in celebration of the 25th anniversary of their legendary live record, Waitin' For Columbus (there's a few clips on YouTube). Sonny's definitely a must for any fan of "slydeco" music.


Sonny in action

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  • 1 month later...

Gotta hear/get his new CD. This guy's touched by God.

Way Past Long, Robben Ford (OUT-FRIGGIN-STANDING)

The Milky Way Home, Eric Johnson (Keeps getting hotter each trade-off)

The Going On, Vince Gill (Who'd a thought VG was soo good)

He makes all these guest artists perform at their best! EC is tasty sweet!

There are tiny parts within "Uberesso" (specifically right after 1:56) that makes my hair stand up. It's like in the middle of tornado, a flower blooms. As furious as it is lyrical.

I hope to see him twice this summer.

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The Going On, Vince Gill (Who'd a thought VG was soo good)

Who'd a thought he wasn't any good? I don't own any of his records but am familiar enough with his music to know that he is usually the exception to the rule when it comes to how much "modern" country sucks (at least the variety played on the radio). He's also a damn good picker.

Jimmy Buffett is also on the new album. As previously mentioned he has guested on several Buffett records in recent years and has put in several guest appearances at his live shows.

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I admit I'm a "country music" know nothing. I really like the tracks he's on.

Like I said the best part is that these guys seem to push each other to a higher level.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...


Boy you can tell work is slow, huh.

I went to visit an old buddy last night. I was tight with Grundoon for 20 years since minor league baseball. A successful doctor in the Philadelphia area, we have not seen each other in any substantive way for 15 years. It was occasioned by our recent touch base at our 35th high school reunion and the Sonny Landreth free concert in south Jersey.

It was mini solo road trip, just the two old friends trundling off to find Haddon Lake Park (Where's that confounded lake!). It rained like a sunnovabitch. We were unsure if it was even gonna come off and there seemed to be no way to find out. Well, it was gonna be fun to just commiserate with the old roots so off we went.

South Jersey's no cultural mecca and this place certainly seemed to be in a place of no pomp and circumstance. As we followed the great google we were driving through a typical post-war Jersey suburban blue collar neighborhood when we spotted what looked like a park.

As we approached, we saw the typical line of "old people" which I am so accustomed to seeing at shows nowadays, ambling along with their folding chairs and sun hats. These "old people", with whom I refuse to identify, haha, are my peers. They are a mix of neighborhood peeps, who always go down to the concert gully (I'll explain later) to see what's up and the Sonny nuts like myself.

The "concert gully" was in the park down the hill and over the rise and was nothing more than a tiny little stone stage, wooden bench seats, on a dirt stepped floor. The usual quaint nuke-proof park bathroom was to the back and a few tables with banners were set up to promote the radio sponsor and Starbucks.

We surveyed the tarp covered area, spied Sonny's crew and it looked hopeful. They still needed to setup so we were off to a diner for a quick bite.

By the time we got back the place was filled except for the puddled seats. We has some rain gear so we got some seats. The place was packed and steamy. I'd say 1500 people in the seats and scattered about. About as lean an audio and lighting setup as imaginable.

Sonny needs no setup to amaze. From the first few harmonics he floored us. The jams have expanded and he seems to have some new tricks up his sleeve. I've only seen one show live and have only heard him at length live on the Grant Street CD but since the new CD he has changed up the set and extended, differently, the old staples. The guy just never makes a bad sound, whether palming the strings, hammering with his fist, typing way up the neck or furiously picking. Like I've said before, Uberesso is like watching a time-lapse flower bloom in the midst of a tornado. The beautiful hair raising melodies that separate the flight-of-the-bumble-bee picking just moves me to tears. The audience for the most part agreed.

Since it was hot, wet, buggy and sticky Sonny made some jokes about how it reminded him of home and then launched into South of I 10 and proceeded to JAM OUT! Off the new CD He did Blue Tarp, Storm of Worry, Uber and The Milky Way Home. I wanted to hear Blue Angel so bad but no go. TMWH was just incredible. Somehow Sonny did both parts and succeeded with style and grace. People were dancing, bouncing and leg drumming with more energy than old folks are supposed to have.

He was humble, funny, and for the most part let his fingers do the talking. My buddy commented on how tight Dave and Mike were. Grundoon had seen Eric Johnson with his son a few years back, but told me "I never saw anything like THAT (Sonny) in my LIFE!" He's not one to get excited about a show, but this was something extraordinary. "3 million notes and not a bum one in the mix!" Sonny has incredible control yet not boring as some instrumentals can be.

I know I am not the fanboy I should be. I cannot remember the set list but all the high points seemed to be hit.

Certainly a great night and if he comes back as promised I WILL make a day of it next year.

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  • 1 month later...

Sonny on the Rockin' the River Cruise

The cruise, if you could call it that, sucked. Ambiance of NYC aside, bad, cheap setup; more suited for a party band, not a guy you want to actually SEE/WATCH. I shot this vid from the back wall of the boat. There were 500 people on the cruise; I'm sure not all Sonny fans. It was weird. For me it was like seeing Jimmy Page at a street fair, where people were more interested in getting a hot dog than enjoying the moment.

Nonetheless, Sonny was sensational!

I would have more vid, but the boat was moving (and so was I). The path to the bathroom was right in front of the band and there was a constant stream of peeps trundling off to the head. Not vid friendly.


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That song from the guitar festival was interesting to hear, alot of energy listening to it in the morning here. The song from his latest record that i've been hearing on the radio has got a -violent fems sound to it, but he adds his own blues playing on it...cool song.

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Does the vimeo link work?

Oh yeah -buk, it does. just checked it out at cable connection this am. it was great, just what i needed in the morning. thats probably why i am listening to the chili peppers now. this is the cd i painted my bros house to...alot of energy on there. -stadium arcadium btw.

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  • 1 month later...
You guys are a tough crowd.

How's that? Not enough response to the thread? I've chimed in several times regarding my feelings about Sonny. Some threads get constant hits, some drop right off the page without any rhyme or reason. It's also important to understand that, unfortunately, most here only seem to be interested in "classic rock" (whatever that is) and artists that stay close to that sound and have little to no interest in anything new or challenges their idea of the "norm".

I haven't heard it yet but I understand Sonny turns in another great performance on the new all star Little Feat record, Join the Band. You can sample the album via audio and video clips at Little Feat's site here.

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YOU my bud are not one of the crowd, by any stretch. And I thank you for your opinions. You are one of the choir.

I specifically try to reach out to young minds who are discovering the gems of classic rock. Some of the roots of the more commercial classics are still showing AND still playing/evolving even in our ever narrowing market mindset. If some can be freed of their "norm-alcy" they will discover some amazing stuff.

No response is:


Possible responses might look like this:

"Wow, Buk, I never heard of Sonny before. That was really different/cool.... He kinda reminds me of.... I can hear the blues roots being taken in a little different direction than Zep did it...."


"I really don't like all the little nooodley notes stuff.... I like the basic blues more.... Too country for my taste... More LOUD, less subtle.... He's ugly! It all sounds the same.... I only like Zep!!!!"

PS Thank you so much for clueing me to the new LF project.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

HEY HEY! I'm so excited to see this thread! I started one of my own because I have this PLANdreTh disease-dying to hear Robert Plant with Sonny!!!!! Notice how their last names even fit together? I think of Robert like fire & Sonny like gasoline-I would give anything to be there if/when they'd mix. I met Sonny after a concert in November. I gave him a framed "PLANdreTh" page I put together, so he'd think about the idea. It had a photo of Lil Band of Gold (Dave Ranson, Sonny's bass player was in LBoG on the Fats Domino Tribute) & Robert at Tipitinas, which I juxtaposed with a photo of Sonny. Sonny looked at it & said, "I finally get to play with Led Zeppelin!". He said he liked my thinking (him playing with Robert-who wouldn't want to play with Robert?). I told him I don't know anything about guitar technique (he responded, "you don't have to"); that I just love all the sounds he gets out of a guitar. When he plays a solo it makes me think of the dragon slayer metaphor. Sonny was very gracious in spite of me being a pretty goofy/obsessed with "PLANdreTh" fan! I don't know if Sonny will take the idea further & try to contact Robert: I'm hoping our conversation & the picture I gave him will move him in that direction. They have a lot of the same musical interests/influences (Robert Johnson, Elvis & Scotty Moore etc.), so you never know...

I am a Goddam Goner Gal, and "there ain't no cure"!

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  • 2 weeks later...
I think Sonny is playing a couple of dates up here in a month or so. One is in a small club.

Hell At Home!!!! Yeah!!!! :D


If you go, give us a review afterwards:)

In addition to seeing Sonny (with Dave & Mike) in November, I saw Sonny with Hiatt twice (Extra bark. Extra smile.).

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  • 4 weeks later...

FYI: Sonny just reissued his cd LEVEE TOWN in a 2cd format (w/5 tracks not on the original release). You can get the new version on www.sonnylandreth.com, or via retail.

Levee Town is not my favorite of Sonny's (to me the songwriting's less accessible), but it's still good, and I'm looking forward to hearing what it's like with the added tracks.

I just got my "Got Slide?" t-shirt in the mail (from my sis), and I was happy that Sonny's Krewe enclosed a bumper sticker with it-a nice surprise!


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